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4 min read

Does Pumpkin Help Constipation in Dogs?


By Leslie Ingraham

Published: 09/24/2021, edited: 09/24/2021

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Everyone gets constipation from time to time, even our fur babies. With many potential causes, and several treatment methods, constipation can cause discomfort and can become quite serious if left untreated. It can even lead to more health problems over time. 

Luckily, there are many ways to prevent or alleviate constipation in your dog in your own home, including something that may already be hiding in your pantry. Pumpkin, a human furvorite for pies and other baked goods, can also be a soothing addition to your dog’s diet.

Let’s find out the facts about constipation and how pumpkin can help alleviate it.

What is constipation?

Constipation in a dog is when a pup doesn’t produce stools on a regular basis, usually once or twice a day. Most dogs have a solid routine that includes a bowel movement at certain times, so if you notice that Rex is trying to go but nothing is happening for 1 to 2 days, their stools are hard and dry, or all that comes out is a little liquid or mucus, chances are good that constipation is the cause. 

If your dog is constipated, you may notice more than just a lack of pooping. Your dog could also be pacing or circling, scooting their butt across the ground, straining or crying when they try to go, or even vomiting. They may experience bloating and abdominal pain, and could become lethargic.

Many cases of constipation are simply caused by a diet lacking in fiber, old age, lack of activity, anxiety, dehydration or an anal gland issue. Others could be a side effect of medications, or from conditions like an intestinal tumor, orthopedic disease or injury, hypothyroidism, metabolic disease, a nervous system disorder, or even from an enlarged prostate. If your furry pal ate something they shouldn’t have, like socks or rocks, those items could cause a blockage that prevents them from passing stool. A blockage is considered a medical emergency and should be treated immediately.

Is Rex constipated? Try using pumpkin to alleviate it.

If you suspect Rex is constipated, it’s time to take action to help them be more comfortable and avoid any serious complications. Check with your veterinarian to be sure there isn’t anything serious going on. They may recommend feeding them plain pumpkin puree, available in cans or homemade. 

How is pumpkin good for constipation?

Pumpkin is a winter squash that’s wildly pupular in North America, especially during Halloween and Thanksgiving. Many dogs love its taste enough to eat it straight, while others may prefer it mixed with their regular food. Be sure to never use a pumpkin pie mix, but only a puree with no added sugars or spices for your dog, whether from a can or from freshly cooked pumpkin.

Pumpkin provides fiber and moisture, both needed to combat constipation caused by diet or dehydration. The fiber bulks up the stool and the moisture softens it. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, it should be given in 1 to 2 tablespoon doses with each meal. Pumpkin can be expected to produce a bowel movement and Rex relief within about 24 hours. Not only will it treat mild to moderate constipation but, given regularly, can prevent it from happening in the future. 

Not to mention healthy pumpkin is low fat, has no cholesterol, and contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, several B Vitamins, Vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.

Pawrific ways to feed your dog pumpkin!

Looking to make pumpkin a regular thing to keep your pup feeling great? There are lots of ways to include this yummy treat in a diet that your dog will love. Here are some delicious ideas!

  • Mix pumpkin in with your dog’s normal food

  • Make a furbulous fall Pumpkin Spiced Pup Latte!

  • Freeze pumpkin in an ice cube tray, or make Frozen Spiced Pumpkin Pops

  • Bake pumpkin into tasty treats or pup-safe cupcakes

  • Create a breakfast sensation with a Pumpkin Oatmeal Parfait

  • Roast plain pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack (remember, no salt or seasonings for pooches!)

  • Use pumpkin treats in store bought or DIY treat toys to keep your furvorite furry pal active too!

However you give pumpkin to your pup, be sure to use moderation and consider the size and weight of your doggo. Always be on the lookout for any adverse reactions, as allergies to pumpkin, though rare, can happen. Symptoms of allergy include swelling of the face or tongue, difficulty breathing, and itchy skin. If any signs of a pumpkin allergy appear, be sure to contact your veterinarian right away.

Can pumpkin help with constipation in dogs? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Pumpkin is a nourishing way to prevent or treat constipation, and it also works for diarrhea! So pick up a can to have on hand, or start giving it to your pup as a preventive measure. Rex will thank you with licks and wags!

A high-quality diet is essential for keeping your dog happy and healthy. Digestive problems and food allergies can be expensive to treat. Compare pet health insurance plans to save more than $270 a year on vet care.

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